It is very rare that I go to a tasting where all of the wines reflect the terroir and the grapes they are made from. This was the case when I tasted the wines of Tenuta Gigliotto at I Trulli restaurant in NYC last month.
The Gigliotto winery is 9 Km from Piazza Armerina (famous for its Roman mosaics, 360AD) in Sicily.
At the tasting and lunch there was not one wine that was international in style or “made for the American market”, which I appreciated very much.
Tenuta Gigliotto is a family business managed by Elio Savoca, who hosted the tasting. Elio spoke about the winery and how they now welcome paying guests on their property at their agriturismo.
He told us that for the last 20 years the winery has been under organic management. Organic for them is the result of a natural and spontaneous process and above all a respect for nature. Elio is also very interested in the history of Sicily and the wines are named after persons or places of historical importance. One wine is named for Count Ruggero, later Roger I of Sicily, who is credited not only for driving the Arabs from Piazza Amerina but also from all of Sicily.
The wine maker, Angelo Alescio, spoke about the wine. He said there are 20 hectares of vines and the soil is generally sandy. All the vineyards have a southern exposure and are at 400 meters. There is a strong wind, which comes from the sea 25km away and has a strong influence on the vines. The training system is Guyot.
He said vinification is carried out under inert gas using cross-flow filters for filtering the wine. It is a less invasive and more effective method. They use French oak barrels and chestnut barrels. Angelo made the point of saying that the use of chestnut was the way wine was processed and aged in the past in Sicily because it was readily available.
Santa Chiara Dry Moscato made from 100% Moscato. This is a very interesting wine. On the bouquet and on the palate it has all the slightly sweet fruity flavors of the Moscato grape but the finish and aftertaste is dry so that it is a wine which can go with food.
White Wine IGT Sicily “Venere” 100% Chardonnay. There are 4,800 plants per hectare and the grapes are picked by hand the second half of August. The grapes are softly pressed by using a pneumatic press. The must ferments in steel tanks with the traditional cold method and temperature control system. About 30% of the wine is fermented in wooden barrels. The wine is then aged in the bottle for several months before release.
Rose Wine IGT Sicily “Kanzir” made from 100% Nero d’Avola. There are 4,000 vines per hectare and the grapes are hand picked in the second and third weeks of September. Traditional white wine vinification, after the grapes are slightly pressed. The must is fermented in stainless steel tanks at a controlled temperature with the yeast that is on the skins. The wine is aged for 6 months in stainless steel tanks and 3 months in bottle before release. It has nice red fruit aromas and flavors with hints of raspberries and a touch of almonds.
Red Wine DOP Sicily “San Michele” made from 100% Frappato. There are 5,000 vines per hectare and harvest takes place the last week of September. Traditional fermentation at controlled temperature. The wine is aged at least 12 months in stainless steel and barrel. This is very aromatic wine with fresh red berry flavors and aromas and a hint of spice and notes of roses.
Red Wine IGT Sicily “Vossia” made from 100% Nero d’Avola. There are 5,000 vines per ha and the harvest takes place the second and third weeks of September. The wine is fermented and macerated under controlled temperatures for 10 days. Aged in casks for 6 months. This is an aromatic wine with hints of red berries, violets, spice and a touch of almonds.
Red Wine IGT Sicily “Conte Ruggero” 100% Petit Verdot. There are 4.500 plants per hectare and the harvest takes place the second and third weeks in September. Vinification is the same as above. The wine is aged for 12 months in barrel. The wine has hints of raspberries and cherries with a nice finish and pleasant after taste.
Patrisano Dessert Wine made from 100% Zibibbo (White Moscato) There are 5,000 plants per hectare and the harvest takes place in November. It is a late harvest and the grapes are picked after they wither on the vines. Traditional wine vinification takes place at a controlled temperature. The wine is aged in steel tanks and French oak barrels. It has hints of mature fruits along with honey and a touch of spice with a long finish and very pleasing aftertaste.